Pink snacks and drinks lined the tables for WHUS’ Heart-y Party Sunday night, an event combining music and presentations about safe sex and healthy relationships.
About 30 students attended the Heart-y Party, which was originally scheduled a few days before Valentine’s Day but was postponed due to snow. Ali Oshinskie, WHUS talk director and one of the organizers of the event, said the event was designed to be held around Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a frustrating time of year for many people, especially considering there’s this whole ‘commercial holiday’ [feeling],” Oshinskie said.
Oshinskie said WHUS wanted to provide an opportunity for students to not only have fun and relax with music and snacks, but also educate themselves.
Oshinskie said she thought it was important to “put it in a fun environment without downplaying the importance of consent and protection.”
Speakers included English professor Gina Barreca, staff from the UConn Health Education Office and Chris Walker, UConn sophomore and Planned Parenthood peer eduator.
Barreca entertained the audience with humorous stories about the different types of relationships she’s encountered through her life. She recalled a time she was a guest on Oprah with two women who wrote a book called “The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right.”
“It was about how to withhold sex until you drove a man insane enough that he would marry you. It was a disgrace to everybody,” Barreca said.
Barreca imitated the women’s Long Island accents when quoting them about how a woman shouldn’t laugh in front of a man and should “play it cool” when having sex.
“Not for nothing, but you can’t have hot sex. You can’t laugh out loud. Why do you want a partner?” Barreca said, making the audience laugh while refuting the ideas written in “The Rules.”
Barreca also talked about being raised by a single father, and how that influenced the “sex talk” when she was younger, her mistakes in marriage and how girls and boys are raised to think differently about relationships.
“Little boys are not figuring out what color cummerbund their GI Joes are going to wear,” Barreca said, contrasting that with the idea that bride magazines are sold all over the country.
Fabio Ufheil, sixth-semester digital media and design major, said he enjoyed Barreca’s ability for storytelling.
“She spins everything from a small story to paint a bigger picture,” Ufheil said.
UConn’s Health Education Office staff demonstrated the use of several contraceptives and hygienic sex products, including both male and female condoms, dental dams and different types of lubes.
Staff demonstrated that dental dams can also be made from other products, including male condoms, latex gloves or even plastic wrap.
The Health Ed staff also cleared up misconceptions about male condoms. While a wallet is a typical place to store a condom when going out for the night, Health Ed staff and sex educator Joleen Nevers recommended putting a condom in a jacket pocket instead, as body heat can cause the condom to deteriorate.
Nevers also said that expired condoms can still provide protection if the people using them are going to have sex regardless. However, Nevers recommended delaying sex or buying new condoms instead.
The staff also explained the different types of condoms, varying in sensitivity, size and texture.
Eighth semester communications major Michelle Woodhouse said the presentation was informative and she was surprised by how many types of condoms the Health Ed Office brought.
“I had no idea there was so much variety,” Woodhouse said, with a laugh.
Walker talked on behalf of Planned Parenthood about the hook-up culture in college.
“One of the things that makes college such a strange place is that you’ve got like a melting pot of hookup culture,” Walker said, explaining that coming into college, everybody has different exposure with sex and alcohol, leading to a gap in experience among students.
Walker also talked about the different social expectations in college among different groups of people.
“I feel like there’s this culture at frat parties where if you’re dancing with someone, you’re more than likely going to make out with them and then do whatever you do afterwards. That’s unheard of in other scenes,” Walker said.
Walker said misconceptions are bound to happen, but it’s important for students to feel comfortable enough to talk to their sexual partners.
“There’s no set rules on what everyone can agree on,” Walker said. “It’s important to communicate with your partners and make sure that you’re vocal and obvious.”
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.